Startup SambaNova raises $676 million in Series D

Startup SambaNova raises $676 million in Series D

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

SambaNova Systems Inc. (Palo Alto, Calif.) was founded to commercialize the work on machine learning of Stanford University Professors Kunle Olukotun and Professor Chris Ré. The company raised a Series A worth $56 million, followed by $150 million in a Series B round of funding lead by Intel Capital and $250 million in a Series C led by Blackrock.

That lifts the total raised by the startup over four rounds to $1.13 billion. The latest round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund and includes additional new investors Temasek and GIC, plus existing backers including funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Intel Capital, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Walden International and WRVI.

SambaNova is now clearly the best funded AI startup even though multiple AI startups have achieved “unicorn” status.

The company said it will use the latest injection of money to increase AI performance, to challenge legacy competitors, and to make AI more accessible.

“Traditional CPU and GPU architectures have reached their computational limits. To truly unleash AI’s potential to solve humanity’s greatest technology challenges, a new approach is needed,” said Rodrigo Liang, SambaNova co-founder and CEO, in a statement.

Next: Service, system, software, semiconductor

SambaNova is offering Dataflow-as-a-Service (DaaS), a subscription-based, extensible AI services platform. DaaS is based on DataScale, an integrated software and hardware systems platform, which is in turn based on proprietary optimized algorithms and processors for training, inference, data analytics, and high-performance computing. SambaNova calls it a software-defined-hardware approach.

Lip-Bu Tan, CEO of Cadence Design Systems and chairman of Walden International, is also chairman of SambaNova. Tan said: “In working with the industry’s premier investors, we have the support needed to bring SambaNova’s bold vision to life and make AI accessible for any organization. The democratization of artificial intelligence will certainly accelerate how the technology impacts our world and will unlock new possibilities for its use.”

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